Build a Keg & Carboy Cleaner

Cleaning kegs and carboys can be a real chore. In search of a way to make it easier, The core assembly components of my cleaner are made of PVC — resulting in them being far less expensive and easier to put together. This design uses a rotating spray head to clean the body of the keg and uses auxiliary lines to feed cleaning solution through the gas (in) and beverage (out) dip tubes, but does not require a ball valve to turn off the flow to the auxiliary lines when cleaning a carboy. The keg ball quick disconnects will stop the cleaner flow if not connected to a keg. The rotating spray head is necessary when cleaning kegs as it puts back pressure on the pump discharge, which is needed to help force cleaning fluid through the auxiliary lines. An alternative option if you want to save more money is drilling holes in a 1⁄2-inch FPT cap and using that instead of the spray head. For carboy cleaning I have found that it works better without either attached as a much higher volume of cleaning solution is circulated through the carboy when using only the riser tube.

My cleaner is designed for ball-lock kegs, but with some modifications the basic design could be used to clean pin-lock kegs. Using a carboy dryer/ storage stacker on top of the lid holds the carboy securely in place for cleaning. When using the carboy stacker to retain the carboy, a single riser length works well for both kegs and carboys. As an alternate use, on brew day I replace the spray head with a brass 1⁄2-inch FIPT x 1⁄2-inch barb adapter, drop the pump into my pool and use the pool water for my post-boil wort chiller. As with any AC line-powered device around water, only connect the pump to a GFCI-protected outlet.


(1) Sump Pump with a 1-inch NPS (National Pipe Straight) threaded connection
(1) 5-gallon (19-L) heavy duty pail with recessed lid center
(1) Carboy dryer/storage stacker
(1) PVDF mini whirling washer ball (PN 80-91 from G.W. Kent, Inc. or equivalent) (or a 1⁄2-inch FPT cap)
(2) male adapters, PVC, 1⁄2-inch MIP thread x 1⁄2-inch slip
(1) 18-inch (46-cm) section of 1⁄2-inch SCH 40 PVC pipe
(1) Reducer bushing, PVC, 3⁄4-inch spigot x 1⁄2-inch FIP
(1) Reducing female adapter, PVC, 1-inch FIP x 3⁄4-inch slip
(2) Straight barb adapters, nylon, 1⁄8-inch MIP x 1⁄4-inch barb (Lasco PN 19-9643)
(2) 14-inch (36-cm) section of 3⁄16-inch (ID) clear PVC hose
(1) Liquid and gas quick keg disconnect


Power drill (drill press preferred)
21⁄64-inch drill bit
1⁄8-27 NPT tap
Bench Vice
PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw
2-inch hole saw
saber saw
File or belt sander